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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 08:13 GMT
Ex-police chief leads bungs probe
Lord Stevens
If there is evidence of wrongdoing it shall be highlighted
Lord Stevens
Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has been appointed as head of the Premier League's probe into alleged transfer bungs.

The 63-year-old will spend six months as chair of an independent inquiry.

He will be looking into allegations of irregular payments in transfer deals since 1 January 2004.

"I will personally overview the inquiry and ensure that it meets the highest standards of investigation and evidence gathering," said Lord Stevens.

Quest, the organisation headed by Lord Stevens, will handle the inquiry.

Speaking at a news conference, he went on: "It is our intention to interview all those involved in the transfer process and to examine all transfers during the period.

"In addition, a number will be subjected to a more detailed investigation criteria set by myself.

We will get to the bottom of what is going on
Premier League chief Richard Scudamore

"I am conscious that there have been persistent allegations in the press, and I would be grateful if those responsible for the articles would provide to my team any supporting evidence or leads that they might have.

"As with all investigations, I shall go where the evidence leads. I can assure both the Premier League and you, that Quest, will not be distracted or diverted from whether or not irregularities exist, and if there is evidence of wrongdoing it shall be highlighted."

Managers including Luton's Mike Newell have complained of a bung culture in English football.

The Premier League says heavy penalties will follow proof of any wrongdoing.

"We are charged with administering the rule book. If there are breaches of the rules we will deal with it," said chief executive Richard Scudamore.

"It is a serious inquiry. The absolute bottom line is that the Premier League and its clubs want to know what is going on.

"We will get to the bottom of what is going on."

Lord Stevens, who has also recently been asked to investigate the death of Princess Diana in 1997, served with the police for 43 years before retiring in January 2005.

He had become Metropolitan Police Commissioner in 2000, and was quick to improve the force in the wake of the damning report into the handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

Under his charge the number of officers in London increased dramatically, street crime and burglary was cut and morale was transformed under his down-to-earth command.

An extrovert 6ft 3in, Stevens has been known as the 'copper's copper' and also 'Captain Beaujolais' because of his love of champagne and fine wines.

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